|Different day, same result: NCFC tops Charlotte Independence 3-0|
|Jacks fall to 1-6 all-time after loss|
|Published Saturday, April 20, 2019 10:53 pm|
|PHOTO | TROY HULL|
|Charlotte Independence Niki Jackson heads toward the NCFC goal in their USL Championship match Saturday in Matthews. NCFC won 3-0, their sixth straight victory in the series.|
MATTHEWS—North Carolina FC has Charlotte’s number.
A 3-0 defeat at the Sportsplex marked the first meeting between first-year head coaches Jim McGuinness of the Independence and Dave Sarachan of NCFC, but it was business as usual between these two sides. NCFC is now 6-1 against the Jacks and outscored Charlotte 23-5 all time. Midfielder Austin Da Luz put the visitors ahead in stoppage time during the first half. Striker Marios Lomis and midfielder Ben Speas sealed Charlotte’s fate in the second.
“So many things in our own performance that we didn’t get right tonight,” McGuinness said. “The score line reflects that. In football, you get out of it normally what you put into it. We didn’t tonight do enough to get the result that we were looking for.”
By McGuiness’ standard, Charlotte has not put a lot into their season thus far at 1-5-1 with four points.
“It’s a bit of both,” McGuiness said. “We’ve got to continue to build the processes that we’re trying to build, and also continue trying to add to our squad.”
Charlotte wraps up a week of three games with three points and a win against two losses. McGuinness is still searching for his ideal lineup, making five changes from last Saturday’s match versus New York to Tuesday’s game against Bethlehem. He made two lineup changes from Tuesday’s win—his first with the club. Midfielder Michael Maria, a 24 year-old Curacao international, made his debut in the starting lineup. Charlotte announced adding him to the squad earlier this week as well as forward Zyen Jones, who came on in the second half.
“Having Michael Maria on the pitch tonight and Mark [Hill], it’s going to take time for that relationship [to form],” McGuinness said. “It looked that way tonight, that there were a few partnerships that looked new. They will need time to develop and to grow. Zyen coming off the bench and his energy and his directness is something we’ll look forward to moving forward.”
Said defender Hugh Roberts: “[Maria] just got here this week. He’s been gelling in practice, but you really can only do so much in practice until you get on the field into a game.”
Midfielder Enzo Martinez also returned to the lineup after a night off against Bethlehem. Martinez, who is nursing a lingering groin injury from preseason, played 68 minutes, longer than McGuinness intended. Forward Niki Jackson came off in the 27th minute with a left hamstring injury.
“We’re working with a small squad,” McGuiness said. “It’s difficult to make a lot of changes, particularly at the back. We don’t have a lot of cover there with Aaron Maund being out injured.”
McGuinness kept 18 year-old English international Curtis Anderson in the XI, replacing USL veteran Brandon Miller.
“He might be 18, but this guy has the confidence of someone who is in his 30s,” Roberts said. “I feel like he’s gotten his feet wet now these last two games. An unfortunate result, but we’re very confident with him in the back. He’s good with his feet, and a pretty good shot-stopper.”
The Jacks embark on a two-game road trip to Tampa Bay on April 27 and Hartford on May 4, before returning home against Loudoun on May 11.
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